Introduction: RATBUSTER 4000

About: Life is too short for boring projects!

If there's somethin' strange in your neighborhood. Who ya gonna call? RATBUSTER (4000)! If it's somethin' weird and it won't look good. Who ya gonna call? RATBUSTER (4000)!

This is something for all those who want to get rid of pests but do not have a heart to kill them. A mouse or a rat can be a real hassle when it enters your basement and starts munching on your goodies.

Quite a while ago we had exactly this problem. My father decided to approach this issue with "kill ´em all" attitude. Me on the other hand, being a eleven something years old, did not support this and wanted to find more humane way to get rid of these furballs . I wanted to catch them alive and migrate them to new hunting grounds far from our home.

Few trials and errors led to invention called RATBUSTER. It is a simple contraption which could be built with minimal tools and skills. This is a perfect woodworking project for beginners!

Step 1: Bit of History

Well, you probably are wondering why is it called RATBUSTER 4000.

That is because it is actually the fourth version.

RATBUSTER 1000: It was a 5 liter jar with cheese on the bottom and inside walls covered with vegetable oil. It was no good, not pests were caught.

RATBUSTER 2000: This was the first buster that had the looks and features of its successors. It was build out of 12 mm birch plywood and it was huge success. I caught three mice with it. These mice were tough little bastards and started to chew the small holes bigger so that first escape would have been inevitable.

RATBUSTER 3000: Seeing that we still had plenty of mice around I decided to build yet another version. This one was similar to the previous one but had the wall thickness on 25 mm. Unfortunately I did not manage to find it.

Ratbuster 4000: When I saw that Instructables had pest control challenge I decided to build yet another version with few upgrades to share with you guys.

Step 2: What You Will Need

For material you need:

  • 20 mm thick wood
  • wood glue
  • nails
  • regular mouse trap
  • thin rope
  • wire (hairpin)
  • Tin (from leftover roofing, tin can or somewhere else)
  • small screws
  • epoxy glue (or something similar)


This is super simple project and could be made with only hand tools. However I have access to power tools and decided to use them.

  • Saw (table saw, band saw, jig saw, hand saw, scroll saw - everything works)
  • Drill and a small metal drill bit
  • Basic tools (pencil, tape measure, screwdriver, hammer etc.)
  • Sandpaper for nicer looks
  • Snips to cut your tin ( and files for sharp edges )
  • small clamps

Step 3: Preparing the Parts

Well, this is nothing special.

Just cut all the pieces to size. The measurements do not have to be spot on (length :27 cm, width 13 cm, height 17 cm) but be sure to get a straight edge so you do not have any caps when assembling. When you have sides , top and bottom then it is time to work on the door. Take your time when doing this, because it can not be too loose or too tight.

Pictures should be pretty clear so no further explanation.

Before you start to assemble don´t forget to add the tin. It would be nearly impossible to do it later.

Step 4: Assembly

This one is also pretty straight forward.

In this Ratbuster version I also decided to add little groove for the door so that even the most determined creatures could not escape by lifting the door with their nose. This is much easier when the box is not assembled.

Just add bit of wood glue and spread it with professional glue spreading tool (aka. finger).

Fix it with nails and wipe the excess glue.

For the rails I would recommend only glue because the small strips tend to slit easily ( or you could drill small pilot holes). Hold them in place with small clamps.

After drying a bit of sanding would not hurt.

Finally screw down mouse trap, add door pin and trigger hook . Drill small hole in the door (do not go all the way trough). Drill a big (10 mm) hole in the top (near the back wall but not against it so the hook could hang loose)

I also added a coat of linseed oil. Customize your buster with a sharpie but do this before oiling.

Step 5: The Conclusion

I would say that this version of Ratbuster turned out much better than the previous ones. Strengthened door and top, durable birch wood and groove for the door insure that no rodent could escape!

"The Original Ratbuster" (aka. my cat Nurris) also took a closer look and approved.

Unfortunately I do not have mice in my household anymore so I can´t really try this out. Though I did manage to catch one really fat black rat ;)

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    7 years ago

    If the rats were all that cute, I wouldn't want to kill them either.